Mark Affleck

My Grandson has CANCER. Now What?

January 27, 2023
Spiritual Growth

     This week was tumultuous and trying after we learned that our two-year-old grandson Briar has cancer. It dropped us to our knees in prayer and compelled us to embrace God’s higher purpose and greatness–even though it may be invisible in the middle of a painful test or trial like this one.


     This experience moved me to remember that God wants us to use a cancer diagnosis—or any of life’s myriad challenges–to erase all sense of self-sufficiency and, instead, RELY ON HIM. But that’s counter intuitive to most of us. A common first response to something like a cancer diagnosis is “checking the odds.” What stage is the disease? Prognosis? Time?

But God says “check with ME.”

The world may get comfort from their “odds.” Not Christians. God is bigger than any cancer and bigger than ANY circumstance in life on earth. And we are helpless without him.

“The battles of life are not mine to fight.” 2 Chronicles 20:17

It is a blessing to join God’s team in these life and death battles and see how he would use them to: 1) Grow our faith; and 2) Witness to others who need to see and accept Jesus. Each chapter, Briar’s challenge this week included, becomes a new entry in our journal of life and a fresh thread in the fabric of our faith.


     Here are the steps I took to give Briar’s battle to God:


  • I accepted reality and did not try to run from the battle.
  • I was not dismayed or discouraged because I knew it was not my battle.
  • I resisted fighting, rested on God’s promises, and then PRAYED in the wait.

ROUND ONE ended yesterday with news that the cancer was ONLY in one of Briar’s two kidneys and had not spread. ROUND TWO today is his surgery to remove the tumor and we’re praying that its weight falls BELOW the level that triggers chemotherapy. ROUND THREE? We’ll trundle over that bridge when its entrance falls in front of our feet.

Christians do NOT have to be facing cancer or be in a hospital to rely on and summon God through prayer. No matter the test or trial or tribulation, Christians need to TRUST God for EVERYTHING, always, no matter how much fear we are carrying. NO MATTER THE ODDS.

We are to trust God and grow closer to him through our trials.

“It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” Psalm 119:71 

I ask God to remind me continually to disengage from all self-fought battles and surrender them to him through PRAYER in total trust and faith that the outcome is in HIS hands, not mine.


What battle are YOU fighting on your own right now that you should take to God in PRAYER?

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:17

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